Friday Ruminations …

Back to the serious business of law libraries. (Are you kidding? Late on a Friday afternoon?)

I’d like to take a few moments to commiserate (not to be mistaken for whining) with other librarians, particularly solos, who bravely bear their burdens alone.

Here’s my last couple of days (you’ve had days like this, too, I know)

I’m slugging my way through an uncommonly large backlog of information and research requests. I’m thinking that I might almost have it under control by the end of the week if I really work my butt off and sequester myself away. But then I lose my internet connection for half a day. Unfortunately, the backlog continues to grow thanks to email, phones and (by virtue of location and design) the drive-by availability of me. I notice that there is a direct correlation between the number of new requests I get and the duration of internet loss. Hmmmm … note to self … plan out of office excursions during future internet fiascos.

When our library was renovated along with the rest of the office several years ago, it seemed a good idea at the time to be more visible and accessible. Previously I’d been in a corner (and “nobody puts baby in a corner“) far, far removed from almost everyone else and since the firm hadn’t had anyone providing library services for a few years, I really had to work at getting people to remember to come to me for assistance. You can see how being more “out there” would have been an attractive option at the time. So here I am … in the middle of a thoroughfare where everyone who sees me is reminded of a question they have. I’m now thinking of snagging that empty office across from the library and making it my own so as to minimize some of the “drive-by” activity. You who are planning library renovations, pay heed.

So yes, those are my solo tips for the day …

#1 – Plan out-of-office excursions when the internet goes down.
#2 – Always have an office with a door and some well-respected focus time.

What are your best tips for those who work solo?

Now I’m going to my happy place, which also just so happens to have a “happy hour”! Have a great weekend, everyone!


  1. Out of ‘the’ office? or out of ‘my’ office?

    Both are good, but I’m guilty of #2, I have to kick my butt sometimes to get out & make the rounds… I’m always glad I’ve done so after the fact, but motivation can be occasionally be a problem. :-)

  2. Even not as a solo, I find it challenging to strike a balance between all the “sit and focus” work I have to do, and how often I get interrupted. Ultimately, I have ended up with a short attention span in which I flit from project to project, starting lots of things but finding it more challenging to follow things through to completion.

    What about taking a set day/time each week to sequester yourself off on a discrete project–either in a boardroom or in a coffee shop? People would know, “oh, it’s Monday morning and it is Heather’s project time” after a while. What do you think?

    By comparison, we have a weekly reference staff meeting. We meet in the Library, everyone sees us, and everyone knows that is our weekly meeting. We only get disturbed when people are in dire straights. We are still highly visible, but because of the intensity of our discussion, people see it as serious work and actually respect that time. Interesting, huh? Do you think it could just be a matter of training, plus careful selection of a time when the demand tends to be lower?

  3. The world does look a little brighter on a Monday morning. I’ve had a couple of days to mend my fractured thought processes. Connie, establishing a weekly project day is a great idea. What I wish, though, is that I could just lower a “cone of silence” over me and my work space during that time since everything I need for project work is right here. To make the idea work, I think I’ll have to get IT in to set up an office proper for me so that I can move back and forth easily. Thanks for the suggestions and commiserations. Excellent work on the Rothstein Pages, by the way! I put a promo and a link on our internal blog this morning.

  4. Sometimes Monday does make things look better. I find they look even better on Tuesday, after having taken Monday off. 8-)

    It’s also “that time of year” when the winter weather is getting a little tired and there is no immediate end in site. Can’t wait for spring!